As summer comes to a close and we head into the High Holy Day season, it’s important to look at what the Children of Israel are doing during this time as they prepare for the Day of Atonement. The month leading up to Rosh Hashanah is the month of Elul – the six month on the Biblical calendar. Generally, this time is one of introspection and reflection as people look back on the last year and look ahead to the next.
According to Jewish tradition, the month of Elul is a time of reflection because the word “elul” can be seen as an acronym for the famous verse: Ani le‑dodi ve‑dodi li–“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song of Songs 6:3). The rabbis of old decided that this month would be a dedicated time that we could draw close to God, building our relationship with Him over the coming weeks in order to build our trust in His judgments come Yom Kippur. Rabbinically, this is the time that the separation between heaven and earth is thinnest, making God more accessible to us. But those of us who know Yeshua as our Messiah know that He is near at all times! Amen!
But, sometimes, God can feel far away. Especially when we’re in the middle of an emotional tempest. Things like anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, and hurt all harden our hearts towards God’s gentle leading. And this can happen at any point of the year! Even the day after Yom Kippur. Which is why Yeshua’s final atonement for our sins is so precious. Because we don’t need a month of reflection and repentance to feel close to God! All it takes is the admission of sin and the acceptance of Yeshua’s sacrifice to have a deep intimate relationship with our Creator.
But having a holy time and a holy place, one separate from the secular and common things, is incredibly helpful in centering our thoughts on Him. Which is why we pay attention to His appointed times and build houses of worship that are dedicated to Him. Did you know that you can make part of your home a holy place?
Our 2019 Family Altar Initiative invites you to do just that! By dedicating a space in your home that is solely for the purpose of meeting with God, you can teach your children where to run when they feel lost in a hurricane of negative emotions. Certain activities take place in certain places. Cooking is done in the kitchen, driving is done in the car, and sleeping is done in the bedroom. And yes, God is accessible to us anytime and anyplace. But He doesn’t change – we do. So having a certain place that will move your mindset onto Him is important.
As we go into the High Holy Day season, think about how you can dedicate a space to God and gather your family in His presence in your own House of Worship! •
Introducing The Family Altar Initiative
The Tree of Life Bible Society is building 700 Family Altars in homes across the United States of America by Thanksgiving 2019.
That is 700 families making the decision to love God and love one another.
Since 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first President to declare the week of Thanksgiving as National Bible Week. At the time, the National Bible Association read passages on the air as NBC between radio broadcasts. Since then, every President has declared the week of Thanksgiving National Bible Week.
By joining the Family Altar Initiative, you can be 1 of the 700 families that will be gathered together around God’s Word during their Thanksgiving meals.